If one speaks of the history and emergence of the spirituals, one must inevitably come to the launch of slavery- The Portuguese sailor Antonio Gonzales began with slave trade in 1442, by catching`Mauren` at the Gold Coast. Those were able to buy themselves free, by supplying him with Negroes, who appeared in Lissabon as colored `servants` and it became fashionable to have a slave. Soon the Spanish and later the English started the business with the gold dust and the slaves at the African west coast.
In 1537, Pope Paul III had banned all slavery in the New World and pointed out the human dignity of Negroes and Native Americans, but no one listened to him. Since 1549, each year, thousands of colored farmhands have been brought to America, until into the nineteenth century 35 million.
From these uprooted Africans, separated from their families, their familiar surroundings and their homeland, who at first did not even understand the language of their new masters, comfort was sought in songs, which expressed their sadness, their suffering and their hopes in a hopeless situation. First in the native African language and according to their tribal rites.
After coming into contact with English and Christianity, they incorporated the contents of the New Religion into their songs.
The white masters and the colonial administration were pleased when religion taught the negroes to submit to their destiny as God's will, to be subject to their authority, and to hope for a better afterlife.
Decades later, when Negroes left the white churches and had their own pastors and churches, they found not only a room for worship, but also a social center where they could speak with their peers after the hard day's work in the cotton fields. The services, in which they danced and sang religious songs that expressed all suffering, all the problems of this world, but also all the hoped-for joys of the afterlife, were extremely familiar and cordial. This singing took more and more space, developed at times to alternating chants between preacher and church, singer and choir.
On the other hand, the spirituals also included coded messages for an escape to the north and liberation from slavery. For example, Jordan was representative for the Ohio River, which formed the border to earthly freedom. After the Civil War, these spirituals were cultivated as a significant part of Black's cultural legacy in colleges and universities.
Since the Fisk Jubilee Singers toured in the US and Europe in 1871, the enthusiasm of the singers has spread to their listeners, and the Negro rituals have begun their triumphal procession around the world, becoming a part of concert life.
Armin Rosin, Posaune
|1 Joshua fit the Battle of Jericho
2 Deep River
3 Down by the Riverside
4 Michael Row the Boat Ashore
5 Go down Moses
6 Nobody knows
7 Go tell it on the mountain
8 Swing Low, sweet chariot
9 The Entertainer
10 Kumba ya my Lord
11 The Sycamore
12 Pleasant Moments
13 Over in the Gloryland
14 Amazing Grace
18 O when the Saints